In 1986, John Scardapane developed the Saladworks concept while working as a gourmet chef at a southern New Jersey country club. The idea: provide fanatic’ly fresh, made-to-order, entrée-sized salads as an alternative food offering for consumers on the go. He believed that consumers deserved a meal that was healthy, quickly accessible and delicious.
When Scardapane pitched the Saladworks concept to the higher-ups at the Cherry Hill Mall in south Jersey, he wasn’t initially met with rousing encouragement. Being told that “a salad-only business would never survive,” John was prodded into adding sandwiches to his menu. But the salads-first concept proved itself when Saladworks began outselling all of the mall’s burger and pizza franchises in its inaugural year. The store’s sandwiches were quickly dropped, and a new kind of dining experience took root.